Australia pulls ahead in race to secure monkeypox vaccine

Australia’s Health Minister announced today the country had signed a deal for 450,000 doses of the new third-generation monkeypox virus (MPX) vaccine by Bavarian Nordic.

Vaccine (file picture).

The first delivery of around 22,000 doses will arrive in Australia later this week with the remainder drip fed throughout next year.

The Australian government had been negotiating with Bavarian Nordic since May 20, the day before the Federal Election.

READ MORE: Monkeypox - NZ unlikely to have vaccine before community transmission

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said due to limited supplies, the vaccine will only be made available for those deemed at higher risk of contracting the virus.

“Essentially it will be people at high risk of monkeypox who have had been in contact with someone in the last 14 days, gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men in that high-risk category of a number of sexual contacts or a recent sexually transmitted infection,” Kelly said.

“Anyone in a high-risk group who is planning to travel overseas, because that's certainly an area where they are at higher risk if they're in that at-risk group and healthcare workers who are at greatest risk.”

The news comes as New Zealand’s health officials confirmed they’ve yet to acquire a monkeypox vaccine deal.

Director of the National Public Health Service Dr Nick Chamberlain said New Zealand is unlikely to have a supply of the monkeypox vaccine in advance of community transmission.

He said he would like to have around 20,000 doses of the vaccine but admitted he'd take 10,000.